Wireless applications in power generation

The application

Cooling towers  

Cooling towers

In power generation, the communication connection between infrastructure systems outside the power station and the central control system continues to present certain challenges. Some examples are outlined here:

Temperature and level measurements in a fossil-fuel power station

Power station  

Power station

The operators of power stations are required by the authorities to document the level and temperature measurements for the supply and discharge of cooling water. The measuring points are therefore recorded and archived centrally via the automation system.

It is not just the considerable distances to the central buildings that pose a problem, but also the power supply for the local measuring and transmission technology, which is often autonomous. Bidirectional communication between several buildings/plants and the automation system is therefore essential here.

Coal conveyor systems in a fossil-fuel power station

Coal conveyor system  

Coal conveyor system

Due to coal being delivered by boat, the coal conveyor systems are usually situated in a remote location away from the immediate power station site. The coal is temporarily stored on a heap next to the unloading site and, if required, is transported to the corresponding conveyor systems by a dragline excavator. Here, the dragline excavator travels alongside the coal heap on rails. As a result of this type of movement, the cables used for the power supply and data communication must utilize flexible, windable cable lines.

However, these special cables are very cost-intensive and must be maintained regularly or be replaced due to environmental influences. The conveyor system then transports the coal over an even greater distance to the power station boiler house, the drive technology of which is also connected to the automation system.

Run-of-the-river power stations

Run-of-the-river power station  

Run-of-the-river power station

The particular problem for run-of-the-river power stations is the natural course of the river and the resulting long cable paths between the locally distributed level measurements and the actuators of flood drainage pumps, which also have to communicate with the control room.

The solution

Radioline wireless system  

Radioline wireless system

Phoenix Contact offers the Radioline wireless system here, which supports modular expansion and has already excelled in applications involving system structures distributed over a wide area. Using the system, I/O data such as temperatures, levels, and error messages can be acquired very easily and transmitted to the control center wirelessly.

Inputs and outputs are assigned by simply turning the thumbwheel on the modules. The I/O signals can therefore be distributed very easily and freely duplicated in the network – without any programming.

Flexible communication paths

Communication paths  

Communication paths

Due to the often considerable distances or inaccessible terrain that must be covered, it would otherwise only be possible to acquire this data with a substantial amount of cabling. Thanks to the integrated repeater functionality of Radioline, the communication paths can be created very flexibly in different structures (point-to-point, line, star or tree structures).  

The Radioline wireless system does not just provide an adequate replacement for cables, it also increases the availability of communication paths by creating a network.

Up to 250 repeater slaves can be integrated into a network. If one of the wireless paths is no longer available, the repeater slave automatically tries to reach the master via another network device. For the most part, measured values only ever change very gradually. Low transmission speeds can therefore be used here on the communication path. However, these low transmission speeds mean that considerable distances can be covered with the license-free wireless paths.

Independent PV power supply systems

Radioline wireless system  

Preassembled system for independent power supplies

If a power supply fails due to the particular location of a measuring or switch position, we can also supply autonomous PV power supply systems that are specifically designed for the power output required. This means that there are virtually no limits when it comes to implementing distributed measuring and switch positions.

With the Radioline wireless system, you can:

  • Overcome obstacles very easily
  • Replace slip rings and cable harnesses on mobile devices which are prone to wear
  • Connect remote stations with no cable access to the automation system very easily

Phoenix Contact does not just offer all the necessary components - pre-assembled and ready-to-use stations which are equipped in accordance with your requirements can also be supplied on request.

The particularly secure wireless technology:


Our own wireless technology ─ TRUSTED WIRELESS ─ is designed for the license-free 2.4 GHz ISM band. Version 2.0 ensures the reliable transmission of data and signals over long distances and is characterized in particular by:

  • a high degree of reliability, thanks to AES encryption, frequency hopping, and coexistence management
  • Range of several kilometers, thanks to adjustable data rates (16 - 500 kbps)
  • Mesh networks with up to 250 nodes and network optimization function

The Radioline wireless system can therefore be operated without any additional protection mechanisms.
There is no impact from the typical noise spectrum in the industrial environment of energy suppliers.

Your advantages at a glance

  • Wireless solution for considerable distances
  • Easy configuration via the thumbwheel on the module – without software
  • Wear and license-free data communication without ongoing costs
  • No expensive cable installation required
  • High availability, thanks to alternative communication paths in the network
  • Electrical isolation via the wireless path


C6 The Exchange
Calmount Park
Dublin 12
D12 XE18